PUBLISHED:April 26, 2010

Scholarship roundtables highlight busy CICL year

The Center for International and Comparative Law (CICL) hosted two interdisciplinary scholarship roundtables at the Law School in the 2009-2010 academic year, providing a high-profile centerpiece for a very active year in international and comparative law at Duke.

“The Law and Politics of International Cooperation” was the theme of the invitation-only forum in November at which fifteen scholars discussed eight works in progress.

A gathering in January, titled “Opting Out of Customary International Law,” explored the broader themes developed in a paper on that topic authored by Duke Law professors Mitu Gulati and Curtis A. Bradley, the Horvitz Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies, and co-director of CICL (read about Gulati and Bradley’s paper).

Laurence R. Helfer, Duke’s Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law and CICL co-director, reports that CICL plans to host two or three roundtables each year on a diverse range of topics.

“The roundtables provide an intimate forum for a small group of legal scholars and social scientists to travel to Duke to discuss their works in progress and receive detailed commentary and feedback from their colleagues,” he says. The format encourages in-depth analysis and discussion, he adds. The assigned commentator (not the author) briefly introduces the paper and raises questions. The remaining hour of each session is devoted to an in-depth review of the paper by the group.

Helfer also envisions the roundtable series as way to “introduce junior scholars in international law to their more established colleagues, and to promote new collaborations among scholars who study international cooperation in such disciplines as law, political science, and economics, among others.”

A busy and productive year for CICL
Other CICL activities during the 2009-2010 year included a diverse array of speakers, events and assorted academic endeavors, according to Helfer and Curtis Bradley.

As Bradley explains, “CICL brought to the Law School a wide range of prominent scholars and former government officials, including Beth Simmons, a political science professor at Harvard, who discussed her widely praised book, Mobilizing for Human Rights, and William H. Taft IV, the former State Department Legal Adviser, who discussed the importance of U.S. compliance with its international commitments.”

Other highlights included an ad hoc seminar on Afro-Brazilian land rights, culminating in a week-long fact finding and legal services trip to that country; the establishment of new summer internships in international and comparative law; more than a dozen public lectures, and the several faculty- and student-sponsored conferences.

“The lectures, roundtables and conferences supported by CICL brought to Duke Law dozens of top international law scholars, both from the United States and abroad, to discuss topics such as the international law governing terrorism, international criminal law, international intellectual property policies, the political dynamics of international cooperation, and the ability of nations to withdraw from rules of international law,” Bradley said.

See a complete list of CICL’s activities on the CICL website.